Wealth, worth, riches. What do these words really mean? Would you rather be without monetary wealth or without physical health? Would you rather have joy or cash? I’d rather be hungry but happy than rich in resources but poor in spirit.
My goal for economic development is not to help people make money. Sound weird? I don’t care how much money a person has, I care how much hope they have. The point of economic development for me is to provide real opportunities that give people a chance to follow their dreams. Living with hope makes living worthwhile. When I look at Gallup’s results of the happiness survey, the top 15 countries are not the 15 most financially well-off. We know money doesn’t buy happiness, so why push money? My goal is to eliminate poverty, but I define poverty not as the absence of money but as the absence of hope.
So what does money buy? Money does buy education, health care, and security, all of which contribute to happiness in the present and hope for the future. I’m not saying money isn’t important, I’m just saying money isn’t the goal. When I look at the orphans at Love Children’s Home, they have no material possessions, but because they reside in a place of faith, hope, and love, they have more joy than many of the American children I have taught that live in a culture of resentment, entitlement, and discontentment.